We are thrilled to present Michael Portillo’s fascinating TV travelogue about Romania, “Transylvania to the Black Sea”, part of BBC Two’s popular Great Continental Railway Journeys, followed by a conversation, moderated by RCI Director Dorian Branea, about the great traveller and TV personality’s Romanian experience. With opening remarks by HE Mr Dan Mihalache, the Romanian Ambassador to the Court of St James’s. Followed by the private view of ‘Romania: Beams of Beauty’, a landscape and portrait photographic exhibition by light magician Sorin Onişor.
The event is organised by the Romanian Cultural Institute in London in partnership with the Romanian Authority for Tourism and the British Guild of Travel and Tourism, with the support of the Romanian Embassy in London.
With its rich cultural and historic heritage, Romania has long been a source of fascination for great British travellers like Patrick Leigh Fermor and it currently enjoys a fantastic revival in Britain and elsewhere as a touristic destination. With George Bradshaw's 1913 Continental Railway Guide in hand, journalist and broadcaster Michael Portillo ventured through Romania, embarking on a revealing railway journey starting in Transylvania and continuing all the way south through Sinaia, Ploieşti, Bucharest and ending on the Black Sea coast in Constanţa. The result is a revelatory 45-minute long TV travelogue full of unexpected discoveries.
Michael Portillo is a British journalist, broadcaster, and former Member of Parliament, Deputy Conservative Party leader and Cabinet Minister. As part of his media career, he has made a number of television programmes for BBC2 including Art that shook the world: Richard Wagner’s Ring, Portillo in Euroland, Elizabeth I in the series Great Britons, When Michael Portillo became a single mum, Portillo Goes Wild in Spain (a natural history programme) and The Science of Killing (for Horizon). There followed documentaries on the unburied bodies from the Spanish Civil War and on Guantanamo Bay. In 2010 BBC Radio 4 carried his 3-part series “Democracy on Trial”. For BBC4 he has made several series of Dinner with Portillo, a discussion programme, and in 2008 The Lady’s not for Spurning (about Margaret Thatcher’s legacy). Since 2006 he has been on The Moral Maze team on BBC Radio 4. In 2003 he began the weekly political discussion programme This Week on BBC1 with fellow presenters Andrew Neil and Diane Abbott MP. He has made 100 programmes in the series Great British Railway Journeys and Great Continental Railway Journeys for BBC2. For six years he was a weekly columnist on The Sunday Times and was the theatre critic of The New Statesman between 2004 and 2006.
BBC Two’s Great Continental Railway Journeys is a British television documentary series presented by Michael Portillo. It sees Portillo travel on the railway networks of continental Europe, referring to his 1913 copy of Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide, as he describes how the various destinations have changed since Edwardian times. The first series was originally broadcast on BBC Two in 2012, and the fourth series aired in 2015.
Sorin Onişor is an exceptionally gifted photographer who, for the past 12 years, has been wandering through Romania, from Maramureş to the Danube’s Delta, from Banat to Moldavia, constantly looking for those remote places and people and capturing in his photographs the magic of long lost traditions. He is currently completing a PhD on “Traditional blacksmiths in Transylvania”, has studied photography for 3 years at the Arts and Crafts College of Timişoara, and has a bachelor degree in History. Sorin has had numerous exhibitions in Romania, Italy, Poland, Spain, France, Belgium, Austria and Japan, and won several awards among which the Great Prize at the National Salon of Touristic Photography, Bucharest (October 2006) and the First Prize at the Ethnographic Photography Salon, Cluj-Napoca (October, 2006).